Originally established by Western Union, the Westar satellite system was the first US domestic satellite system. The system relayed data, voice, video, and fax transmissions to the continental U.S., Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and the Virgin islands. Western Union ended its role as a satellite service provider when it sold the Westar satellites to Hughes Communications Inc. in 1988. At the time of the sale, only the Westar 3, 4, 5 and satellites were operational, as Westar 1 and 2 had already been retired from service (Westar 1 in April 1983), and Westar 6 had not achieved GEO following its deployment from STS-10 in February '84.
Westar 6 was retrieved by STS-51A in February 1984 and returned to Earth for refurbishment. Following its return, the vehicle was resold by the satellite's insurers to the Pan Am Pacific Satellite Corp., who in turn resold it to Asia Satellite, who renamed it AsiaSat 1. The satellite was relaunched in April 1990 aboard a Long March rocket.
The Westar 6S satellite, procured by Western Union as a replacement for Westar 6, was still under development when Western Union was bought out by Hughes. The vehicle was subsequently renamed Galaxy 6.
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